JEMS: The Ethics of PPE and EMS in the COVID-19 Era
By Brian J Maguire, Dr.PH, MSA, EMT-P, Kirsty Shearer, John McKeown, MA, Scot Phelps, JD, MPH, Daniel R. Gerard, MS, RN, NRP, Kathleen A. Handal, MD, Paul Maniscalco, PhD(c), MPA, MS, EMT/P, LP and Barbara J. O’Neill, PhD, RN
These are trying times for emergency medical services (EMS) personnel on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this article we discuss two critical areas of concern. First, we articulate the ethical challenges EMS personnel face in the absence of having proper personal protective equipment (PPE) and offer some guidance on how to frame their decisions.
Second, we give voice to the urgent need for a national dialogue to address the needs of EMS clinicians and leaders. We present key questions that must be answered to improve the future structure of the profession and the safety of all personnel.
These are times that are putting EMS to the test. These are times that will define the future of EMS.